For a drink, or two, or...
Mission 1: Gearing Up
Location: Persephone, Eavesdown Docks, Drunken Duck
Timeline: 14:00 Local
Abigail sat down behind the table, on a chair with the wall behind her. Her boots were back on her feet although undone, for comfort. She leaned against the chair's back, pushing it far enough from the table to have freedom of movement for easy reach to her secured in the holster gun. Something she did subconsciously. She swept the bar visually while Alden and Chin were taking their seats, noticing all the patrons, briefly focusing on each, and finding potential routes of escape.
They came back downstairs, to the bar and since it was just past noon, it was still relatively empty. So Abigail picked the table on the side, against the wall, giving them good view of everyone and everything. At the same time being on a side, the table was not immediately noticeable to anyone coming from outside. The bar was very simple, like the rest of the building made of prefabricates fitted with very industrial-style furniture mixed in with some of the local, hand-made retro-style. The barman noticing them wasn’t in the rush to come over, but when his and Abi's eyes met, he slowly stood up from behind the counter with the intention to approach them.
Chin had followed Abigail to the table and took up the seat on her right. This seat was more conducive to allow him to throw something with his right hand if needed. He certainly didn’t wish for a bad situation to happen, but it’s always best to be prepared. Just like Abigail, he thought. She had taken the middle table and a seat with her back to the wall. That was definitely chosen for a reason.
Chin sat in the chair and relaxed. It was hard to relax with not all his possessions with him. He never knew when he needed to leave town and always would prefer to have everything with him. But not today. He had been encouraged to leave it behind with his hat. He also really didn’t like the idea of leaving all that cash without someone to watch it. He knew the rooms had locks, but that never stopped a thief. Leaning back into his chair with his right hand resting on the metal stars on the belt over his light jacket. When he is nervous he fiddled with things, in this case the throwing stars that could be spun off a threaded center post. He wasn’t sure why he was nervous. No one was here. He was about to get some food and hopefully a nice cold beer.
Alden was deliberately a little slower to descend from Abigail’s room, confident enough that the other two would recon the place with or without him. Also, Alden felt… tired… sore... and hungry, definitely not up for attracting or dealing with any more strife. He focused his own attention on the barkeep, stopped by the counter's access hatch, put himself directly in the other man's path.
Look at them, so cute over there together, casing the joint like the professional killers they clearly both were. And here he was, for some dumb reason still present. Alden owed her - Abigail - for both getting him the wound he carried and for fixing him up some. He figured the easiest way to begin paying back that debt was a simple gesture.
“Hang on a sec please, barkeep…” Alden addressed the scraggly-haired patron of the establishment who frowned as he looked up at this tall human obstacle.
“Griffin,” the man said. “Call me Griffin.”
“Griffin,” Alden rephrased. He pulled a couple of larger denomination Alliance credit notes from his pocket and handed them to the man. “Consider this payment for whatever those two order, please. And please bring me whatever is the biggest rare beefsteak you have, and a bottle of…” His gaze scanned the line of optics. “Just pick me one of your good whiskeys. Please. Xie Xie.”
Chin looked over to Alden chatting with the barkeep. Without looking her way, he said in a sad tone, “You know, you did a real job on him.” Turning his head toward her, “Don’t get me wrong. I have great respect for your skill.”
Abigail watched Alden carefully. He was still a little bit of a question mark for her. Cute one, but not cute enough for her to lower her guard. Hearing Chin, she glanced at him and tilted her head and her grin widened.
“Thank you. I’ve seen some wounds during the war and learned a thing or two how to patch them.” She said softly. “It’s the second time you say you have respect for my skills. Do you want to make me blush?”
Chin was surprised by her comment. He was just trying to be honest. He grimaced slightly embarrassed himself. “Ahh, not my intention.” Then looking more critical, “I wouldn’t think anything would make you blush.” He raised a curious eyebrow looking at her curves, with a bit of desire, but in the end knew she was not his type.
Abigail sighed, pouting and slowly nodded as if in acknowledgement. She started to see more clearly what kind of a man Chin was. She was thinking for a moment about commenting on his statement but decided against that. Instead she straightened up in the chair and called toward Alden.
"Stop flirting with the bartender... or better, bring us some liquor. I'll take a glass of what you have." She glanced at the man next to her and asked quieter. "Chin?"
The young oriental man turned his head from Alden to Abigail, “Umm, something cold and wet would be best for me right now. Thanks.”
He heard her voice well enough, the blonde siren, and Alden chuckled quietly as he waved in response to Abigail, but otherwise politely ignored her. To Griffin, he offered a grateful thanks, and accepted a bottle of whiskey, two small glasses - followed by a late addition of an ice cold bottle of beer. Balancing said beverages with consummate ease, Alden strode purposefully across the tavern to join the waiting two.
“Here you go, you two Ching Soh ninjas,” he said, then placed the bottle in the middle of the table, a glass next to Abigail, the other before himself and the beer in front of Chin. Alden looked at each fellow drinker in turn with a lazy smile, lifted the bottle of whiskey and poured out two measures, one for himself and one for the blonde demon lady. “I miss anything important?”
Chin took a long draw on the draft. It seemed to cool him and then warm him afterward. He glanced to Abi before looking at Alden, “Nothing really.” Without expecting it, “Bbbuuuuurpp!!” Chin tried to cover him mouth slightly. “Ta Ma Duh! Good beer.”
Abigail grinned. It was first time she saw Chin behaving in a more casual way.
"Chin wanted to make me blush but failed." She commented, picked the glass with the whiskey raising it and waited mid-air for Alden. "How was the bartender? Did you get a company for tonight?" She asked jokingly. "What are your plans for the rest of the day guys?"
Taking a seat opposite Abigail, Alden turned the chair sideways and raised his glass to match hers. They synchronised the downing of the two shots, and, the glasses swiftly refilled, Alden leant back in his seat. He raised an eyebrow at Chin’s belch, then raised it higher a second later as the younger man - dark horse apparently - was accused of trying to make the lady blush.
“I’m intrigued,” Alden said, his smile lopsided. “But almost afraid to ask.” Then he shook his head emphatically and regarded Abigail more directly. “You’re asking if I want to sleep with Griffin? Or if he’s a pimp?” He queried, sounding entertained by her question.
Chin had been taking a sip of beer when Alden asked the question. It made him laugh and almost caused beer to come out his nose as he turned away. “ Ta Ma De Hun Dan !!” as he wiped his face with his hand.
Abigail winked at Alden. It was a smooth counter.
"Is the rounded, slightly overweight, scraggly haired man in your type?" She asked him putting a very vague description that fitted the bartender. She shifted on the chair to ease the pain of her bruised stomach, slouching to the side and resting her upper body on an elbow.
“No,” Alden answered, simply. He downed the second shot and closed his eyes for a second. Nope, not anywhere near numb yet, but then he had no intention of getting fall-over-drunk in unknown company. That rarely ended well. “I think your lil friend there has a drinking problem,” he told Abigail, then Alden frowned as the woman shifted position. She looked uncomfortable, in a very particular way. “You alright?”
"Oh, it's nothing. I'll walk it off." Abigail shook her head and raised the bottom of her black tube top showing that nasty red bruise on her stomach. "Did you already forget?" She winked and lowered the top. "Are you staying here Alden?" She pointed with her head at the bottle of whiskey.
Chin cringed and winced at knowing just how much that bruising probably hurt, but said nothing and looked away to the bartender.
He hadn’t. Forgotten. But in the thick of that initial fight, the one that seemed more than a few hours ago now, they’d traded a good few strikes. She’d won. In Alden’s experience, that helped with the aftermath quite a bit. Still, it didn’t make him feel great to see his own strength mirrored back at him in red and black on her flesh.
“Nothing’s forgotten,” Alden said, and for a moment he cast his eyes off towards the tiny, currently empty, stage, deep in thought. Perhaps someone might play music there later. “Yeah,” he answered, as he picked up the bottle and refilled his glass again. “I’m gonna stay here. Drink some, eat some.” He screwed up his face briefly. “You two ain’t gonna try and stop me, are ya?”
Abigail shook her head.
"Naah." She grinned showing her teeth. She could swear he seemed to feel bad about the bruise, which was the reason she showed it to him. She wanted to play on his feelings and see his reaction. Though for her it was rather fun. They tangled and he gave her a good fight. She appreciated that a lot. "Joo How Rin." She added and glanced at Chin with unspoken question what he was going to do next.
“Good,” said Alden, accompanying his comment with a wrinkle of his nose and a self-effacing grin. “Xie Xie, Mei Mei," he added, at her wish of good luck.
After taking another sip of beer, Chin commented “If his singing is bad, I’m leaving quickly.” He chuckled. “Otherwise, no disrespect to you guys, but I’ll probably go find some good food and a warm bed for the night. Along the way, probably ask about Stanton, if anyone has a clue.” He looked to them across the table for their reaction.
“Whose singing?” Alden asked, curious at whatever internal conversation was happening with the young man. He shrugged his shoulders loosely at the mention of potential disrespect. He didn’t know them well enough to be concerned on that front. Sitting back, he watched the other two talk.
Chin chuckled loudly then replied, “Didn’t you just look longingly toward that empty stage, like you were gonna get up and make some sounds for us? It certainly looked that way to me.” He suppress another chuckle.
The laughter was unexpected, but then this new side of Chin took a little getting used to. Alden didn’t know why exactly, but he wasn’t buying it. Perhaps it was his own past, or the surprise entrance of two highly skilled fighters into his day, or maybe it was just because he was hurt, tired, hungry and grumpy.
“You don’t know me, Zhan Shi,” Alden told the younger man. “Not even a little bit. Let’s not pretend you do.” He maintained direct, but not aggressively so, eye contact with Chin until Abigail interrupted them with actual words.
"Not sure what are you looking for, but the food here I'd say is passable. As for a warm bed..." Abigail shrugged with a half-grin before she continued with more matter-of-fact tone than her usual. "And about Stanton, where do you want to ask about it?"
“Well,” Chin began, thinking of a good answer since he really didn’t have one. “I guess I’ll ask some of the fuel suppliers. Not the owners, but the workers. They might know him better anyway.” He sighed for a second, and then cautiously looked toward the barkeep before admitting, “The food here might be passable, but I’m looking for something with a bit more authentic flair, if you get my meaning.”
"I do." Abigail nodded. She'd figured out Chin enough by now to expect statement like that. In the end it was just a matter of preference and she understood that. She paused briefly before continuing on the other subject. "Good idea on asking the workers. I would ask the port authority instead though, they could confirm if such a person exists and if he has a ship... and what is its name."
Chin nodded his head in acceptance of a good idea and took another sip.
Alden started to peel the label off the bottle of whiskey, his interest in their conversation waning as the alcohol began to slowly kick in. Yup, he was just gonna hang out here, and - yes! - he could smell chargrilled meat. Food was headed in his direction…. As a middle-aged woman approached their table and placed the plate in front of him, Alden inhaled deeply the air immediately above it with an expression of great happiness.
“Xie Xie,” he told the lady, that big grin still on his face as he took the cutlery from her hand, then regarded his lunch. “Shiny…”